Momentus moments.

I can die happy. A moment of suspension, on the bit. Thank you, Lord. And Derby. And Christy.

Tonight as I warmed up for my lesson, Christy and I talked about what Liz had captured when she shot some video (unknown to me) a few nights ago.  For your reference here it is – three minutes of fairly uninspired riding.

A few things are apparent from this video.  First and foremost, I’ve lost the position I’ve been working on – my hip angles are closing a bit, and I’m pitching forward, which on Derby is like stomping the brakes.  Secondly, the contact is really inconsistent –  we’re only round and on the bit oh, maybe 30% of the time. At about 2:00 I do manage to correct myself (somewhat) but at this point it also becomes apparent that I’m acceptng a pretty ho-hum trot from Derby.  Forward is still an issue.

Argh.

So Christy set some new priorities for us, starting with forward, which will help with both the consistency of our content and gait quality. She also threw trot poles into the mix, to encourage a more dynamic trot.   We got some good work going to the left and got some fancy footwork over the poles. Then we took walk break, talking through a few things, and I picked up the reins to go back to work.  Derby, on the other hand, was checked out.  He was done, or so he thought.  Bless his furry little soul, he was wrong.  We still had a good 20 minutes to go in our lesson.

To say that forward was a problem would be an understatement. After getting no response when I asked him to move forward, I booted him into a canter.  As you can see in the video above, I had to pop him with the whip a few times to keep him going.  After that canter interlude, however, we got some really good work, right before the 3 minute mark.  From that point onward, I was able to keep Derby forward with consistent contact.

Uphill trot.

What was different?  A few things.  First and foremost, I rode proactively, making corrections, half halting – essentially managing every stride. Secondly, I really tried to maintain a balanced position.  And finally, I really kept my core engaged.  Wow, what a difference. Around 2:55 in the video, we start to get some of our best work ever.  Derby is uphill – we even generate some suspension.

“THAT is your working trot!” Christy exclaimed. “That’s the show ring trot!”   I have to make this the new normal.

PS: This is for those who say that riding isn’t hard work. Look at the steam roll off me after living through my lesson with Christy!

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital marketing executive and strategist with a long track record of success in content marketing, social media, demand generation, event marketing, sales enablement, product management and business development.

4 Responses to Momentus moments.

  1. Paula says:

    Wow, that first video I could have replaced you and Derby with me and Fella. What I found in myself is that cocked forward position with inconsistent contact was a result of my trying to ‘push’ Fella forward with my hands! What I mean is all my drive wasn’t coming from my lower half, but my upper half so I was almost in front of the horse. To top it off I sometimes even end up with rounded shoulders! I feel your pain. I really appreciate your second video and the notes accompanying. I could definitely see about 3 minutes in how you’re using your body differently. This was a great opportunity for me to learn from you and your trainer. I really appreciate it.

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      You’re right about the timing in that second video, Paula. I was finally able to get the horse motivated at that point. You can see in the canter how I’m working hard – driving with my seat, using the whip and leg, to get him to GO. Among the myriad things I have to work on is his responsiveness. I’ll add that to the ever-growing list. Hope you and Fella are having fun and doing well!

  2. You guys are looking FAN FRICKING TASTIC!!! Seriously, I can tell you are working your butt off, but it’s SO paying off. You and Derby are such a lovely team:) Congratulations on buying the right horse, and working hard and getting results:)

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